Cheaha State Park
Geographic Location: south of
Oxford, AL (33.49201, -85.81066)
Length: 0.5 miles
Difficulty: 1/10 (Easy)
Last Hiked: March 2013
Overview: An easy walk to fantastic views from Bald Rock.
Park Information: http://www.alapark.com/cheaha-state-park
Hike Route Map: https://www.mappedometer.com/?maproute=724619
Directions to the trailhead: In eastern
Alabama, take I-20 to US 431 (exit 191). Exit and go south on US 431. Take US 431 to SR 281 ( Talladega Scenic Byway). Turn right on the SR 281 access road, then turn left on SR 281 itself. Take SR 281 south 11 miles to the signed entrance on the right. Turn right to enter the park, pay the small entrance fee, and begin driving the hilly one-way park loop road. About half way around the loop, turn right at the sign for Bald Rock. Veer left of Bald Rock Lodge and park in the trailhead parking lot. Cheaha State Park
The hike: Perched on the roof of
Alabama, consists of 2799 acres on the top of Cheaha State Park . Fittingly the name Cheaha comes from the Creek Indian name for this place “Chaha,” which translates to “high place.” As the name suggests, at 2407 feet above sea level, the summit of Cheaha Mountain is the highest point in Cheaha Mountain Alabama.
The Creek may have been the first to recognize the significance of this mountain, but they were hardly the last. Like half of
Alabama’s state parks, was formed in 1933 when the State of Cheaha State Park Alabama acquired this land. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) arrived that same year and began work on many of the park facilities still used today. In particular, Bald Rock Lodge, the Bunker Observation Tower built directly on the summit, and the park’s stone cottages are all works of the CCC. The park also features a motel and a restaurant built in 1973.
For hikers, the park’s most famous trails actually lie just outside the park in the surrounding Talladega National Forest. Within the park lie several short trails, including the Lake Trail, which leads 1 very steep mile from the mountain summit to
, the Pulpit Rock Trail, a 0.5 mile trail leading to an unusual rock formation, the 0.25 mile Rock Garden Trail, and the short trail system at Bald Rock. Bald Rock is the easiest overlook in the park to access, and it is the overlook that gives the park’s best views. Cheaha Lake
|Steps leading off the boardwalk|
At 0.3 miles, you reach the overlook and a world class view. Standing atop the quartzite rock, you can see more than 20 miles to the north.
Anniston and Oxford appear as small settlements in the distance, and cars on I-20 creep along as tiny dots. The low pine-covered foothills in the foreground take center stage, and stunted Virginia pines on the rocky summit frame the view.
|View north from Bald Rock|
|Unusual quartzite formation|